pick1 W1S1 [pık] v [T]
1¦(choose something)¦
2¦(flowers/fruit etc)¦
3¦(remove something)¦
4 pick your way through/across/among etc something
5 pick your nose
6 pick your teeth
7 pick somebody's brains
8 pick a quarrel/fight (with somebody)
9 pick and choose
10 pick a lock
11 pick a hole in something
12 pick holes in something
13 pick something clean
14 pick somebody's pocket
15 pick a winner
16 pick something to pieces
17¦(musical instrument)¦
Phrasal verbs
 pick at something
 pick somebody/something<=>off
 pick on somebody/something
 pick somebody/something<=>out
 pick over something
 pick through something
 pick up
 pick up after somebody
 pick up on something
[Date: 1200-1300; Origin: Partly from unrecorded Old English pician; partly from Old French piquer 'to prick']
to choose a person or thing, for example because they are the best or most suitable
Students have to pick three courses from a list of 15.
I don't know which colour to pick.
Who's going to pick the team for the match on Saturday?
pick sb/sth for sth
I wasn't picked for the hockey team.
pick sb/sth as sth
The hotel was picked as the best small hotel in the area.
pick sb to do sth
He was picked to run in the 100 metres.
Russell spoke slowly, picking his words (=choosing what to say) very carefully.
to remove a flower, fruit, nut etc from a plant or tree
We picked some blackberries to eat on the way.
Amy picked a small bunch of wild flowers.
a dish of freshly picked peas
3.) ¦(REMOVE SOMETHING)¦ [always + adverb/preposition]
to remove something carefully from a place, especially something small
pick sth from sth
Ahmed picked the melon pips from his teeth.
pick sth off (sth)
She was nervously picking bits of fluff off her sweater.
pick sth out of sth
The goalkeeper spent a lot of his time picking the ball out of the back of the net.
4.) pick your way through/across/among etc sth
to walk in a slow careful way, choosing exactly where to put your feet down
She picked her way between the puddles.
He picked his way down the narrow staircase.
5.) pick your nose
to remove ↑mucus from your nose with your finger
Don't pick your nose!
6.) pick your teeth
to remove bits of food from between your teeth with your finger or a small pointed object
7.) pick sb's brains
to ask someone who knows a lot about something for information and advice about it
Have you got a minute? I need to pick your brains.
8.) pick a quarrel/fight (with sb)
to deliberately start a quarrel or fight with someone
I could see he was trying to pick a fight with me.
9.) pick and choose
to choose only the best people or things, or only the ones that you really like
Come on, you haven't got time to pick and choose.
10.) pick a lock
to use something that is not a key to unlock a door, drawer etc
It's quite easy to pick the lock on a car door.
11.) pick a hole in sth
to make a hole in something by pulling it with your fingers
He had picked a hole in his jumper.
12.) pick holes in sth informal
to criticize an idea or a plan by saying what its weak points are
It's easy to pick holes in her argument.
13.) pick sth clean
to remove all the meat from a bone when you are eating
14.) pick sb's pocket
to quietly steal something from someone's pocket
15.) pick a winner informal
to choose someone or something very good
16.) pick sth to pieces informal
to criticize something very severely and in a very detailed way
I'm fed up with having my work picked to pieces.
AmE to play a musical instrument by pulling at its strings with your fingers
= ↑pluck
have a bone to pick with sb atbone1 (10)
pick at [pick at sth] phr v
1.) to eat only small amounts of food because you do not feel hungry or do not like the food
Paige could only pick at her meal, forcing down a mouthful or two.
2.) to touch something many times with your fingers, pulling it slightly
She was picking at her skirt.
pick off [pick sb/sth<=>off] phr v
to point a weapon carefully at one person or animal in a group, and then shoot them
There were gunmen in some of the buildings who picked off our men as they went past.
pick on / [pick on sb/sth] phr v
1.) to behave in an unfair way to someone, for example by blaming them or criticizing them unfairly
Why don't you pick on someone else for a change?
2.) BrE to choose a particular person or thing
Just pick on one job and try to get that finished.
pick out [pick sb/sth<=>out] phr v
1.) ¦(CHOOSE)¦
to choose someone or something from a group
She picked out a navy blue dress.
His story was picked out as the best by the judges.
to recognize someone or something in a group of people or things
She was able to pick out her father at the other side of the room.
I picked out Valerie's voice from among the general conversation.
3.) ¦(SEE)¦
if you can pick something out, you can see it but not very clearly
I could just pick out some letters carved into the stone.
4.) ¦(SHOWN CLEARLY)¦ [usually passive]
if something is picked out, it is in a different colour or material from the background, so that it can be clearly seen
His name was picked out in gold lettering.
5.) ¦(PLAY A TUNE)¦
to play a tune on a musical instrument slowly or with difficulty
He sat at the piano and picked out a simple tune.
pick over [pick over sth] phr v
to examine a group of things very carefully in order to choose the ones you want
She was sitting at the kitchen table picking over a pile of mushrooms.
pick through [pick through sth] phr v
to search through a pile of things to find things that you want
Police are still picking through the rubble looking for clues to the cause of the explosion.
pick up phr v
pick sth/sb<=>up
to lift something or someone up
He picked up the letter and read it.
The phone rang and I picked it up.
Mummy, can you pick me up?
see usage notehold1
2.) pick yourself up
to get up from the ground after you have fallen
Carol picked herself up and brushed the dirt off her coat.
pick sth<=>up
AmE to make a room or building tidy
Pick up your room before you go to bed.
pick sth<=>up informal
a) to get or win something
He's already picked up three major prizes this year.
b) to buy something or get it from a shop etc
I picked up an evening paper on the way home.
For more details, pick up a leaflet in your local post office.
c) to get an illness
I picked up a virus while I was in America.
5.) ¦(COLLECT )¦
pick sth<=>up
to collect something from a place
I'll pick my things up later.
She just dropped by to pick up her mail.
pick sb<=>up
to let someone get into your car, boat etc and take them somewhere
I'll pick you up at the station.
The survivors were picked up by fishing boats from nearby villages.
7.) ¦(LEARN)¦
pick sth<=>up
to learn something by watching or listening to other people
I picked up a few words of Greek when I was there last year.
Mary watched the other dancers to see if she could pick up any tips.
8.) ¦(NOTICE)¦
pick sth<=>up
to notice something that is not easy to notice, such as a slight smell or a sign of something
I picked up a faint smell of coffee.
The dogs picked up the scent and raced off.
We picked up their tracks again on the other side of the river.
pick sth<=>up
if a machine picks up a sound, movement, or signal, it is able to notice it or receive it
The sensors pick up faint vibrations in the Earth.
I managed to pick up an American news broadcast.
pick sb<=>up
to become friendly with someone you have just met because you want to have sex with them
young women sitting around in bars waiting to be picked up
11.) ¦(START AGAIN)¦
a) if you pick up where you stopped or were interrupted, you start again from that point
We'll meet again in the morning and we can pick up where we left off .
b) pick sth<=>up
if you pick up an idea that has been mentioned, you return to it and develop it further
I'd like to pick up what you said earlier.
This same theme is picked up in his later works.
12.) ¦(IMPROVE)¦
a) if a situation picks up, it improves
Her social life was picking up at last.
The economy is finally beginning to pick up again.
We've been through a bit of a bad patch, but things are picking up again now.
b) pick sb up
if a medicine or drink picks you up, it makes you feel better
13.) ¦(ROAD)¦
pick sth<=>up
if you pick up a road, you go onto it and start driving along it
We take the A14 to Birmingham and then pick up the M5.
14.) ¦(TRAIN/BUS)¦
pick sth<=>up
if you pick up a train, bus etc you get onto it and travel on it
15.) pick up speed/steam
to go faster
The train was gradually picking up speed.
16.) pick up the bill/tab (for sth) informal to pay for something
Why should the taxpayer pick up the tab for mistakes made by a private company?
17.) ¦(WIND)¦
if the wind picks up, it increases or grows stronger
18.) ¦(COLOUR)¦
pick sth<=>up
if one thing picks up a colour in something else, it has an amount of the same colour in it so that the two things look nice together
I like the way the curtains pick up the red in the rug.
19.) ¦(CRIMINAL)¦
pick sb<=>up
if the police pick someone up, they take them somewhere to answer questions or to be locked up
He was picked up by police as he was trying to leave the country.
20.) pick up the pieces (of sth)
to try to make your life normal again after something very bad has happened to you
Thousands of victims of the earthquake are now faced with the task of picking up the pieces of their lives.
21.) pick up the threads (of sth)
if you pick up the threads of something that you were doing, you try to return to it and start doing it again after it stopped or was changed
Now that the war was over they could pick up the threads of their lives again.
22.) pick your feet up
spoken used to tell someone to walk properly or more quickly
pick up after [pick up after sb] phr v
to tidy things that someone else has left untidy
I'm tired of picking up after you!
pick up on [pick up on sth] phr v
1.) to notice something about the way someone is behaving or feeling, even though they are trying not to show it
Children pick up on our worries and anxieties.
2.) to return to a point or an idea that has been mentioned and discuss it more
I'd like to pick up on a point that Steven made earlier.
3.) pick sb up on sth
to criticize someone slightly for something they have said
I knew he was lying and I should have picked him up on it.
pick 2
pick2 n
[Sense: 1-3; Date: 1500-1600; Origin: PICK1]
[Sense: 4-5; Date: 1300-1400; Origin: pike]
1.) [U]
if you can have your pick or take your pick of different things, you can choose which one you want
Have a look at the menu and take your pick .
He knew he could take his pick of any of the girls in the office.
Sarah could have her pick of any university in the country.
have/get first pick (of sth)
She always gets first pick of the videos.
2.) the pick of sth informal
the best things in a group
In tonight's programme we'll be discussing the pick of this month's new movies.
There were fifteen candidates for the job, and he was the pick of the bunch (=the best one) .
3.) informal
your pick is the person or thing that you have chosen from a group
= ↑choice
There are a lot of good horses in the race, but Archimedes would be my pick.
a ↑pickaxe
5.) informal
a small, flat object that you use for pulling at the strings of a musical instrument such as a ↑guitar
→↑ice pick

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.


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